The announcement by Satoru Iwata, president and CEO of Nintendo and Nintendo of America (NOA), that the company was not going to have a keynote event at this year’s Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) was met with confusion, derision, and a sense that Nintendo was making yet another PR misstep.
Having launched the Wii U last fall and with reports that new third-party titles are coming out soon, it didn’t seem like Nintendo would have any major announcements to highlight their keynote. Sony and Microsoft are expected to dominate the E3 landscape with their next-gen press conferences so this move by Nintendo may be more of a breather maneuver than miscalculation.
This isn’t to say that Nintendo is not going to be at E3 completely. A statement from Charlie Scibetta, senior director of corporate communications for NOA, released early Thursday indicated the company plans on hosting two smaller events on Tuesday morning, June 11. They also plan on having a booth inside the Los Angeles Convention Center, home of the E3 event.
The statement in full from Scibetta:
“As you’ve already seen, a lot of news about Nintendo games and services that traditionally would be held until E3 is being delivered this year through Nintendo Directs, and various press events. This approach will continue between now and E3. No matter where you are in the world, you’ll be fully informed. We look forward to continuing to provide you with Nintendo news and content in ways you haven’t before experienced.
Beyond the news that will be communicated through Nintendo Direct videos in the run up to E3, at the show itself we’re hosting two smaller events on Tuesday morning before the LACC opens instead of just our traditional one event. A media event and a partner presentation will both occur that morning. While the audiences will be different between the two events, both will occur on the Tuesday morning of E3 (June 11) which is the date and time period the public has come to expect for Nintendo to deliver E3 news.
At the Nokia Theater, we’ll meet with business partners (retailers, publishers, analysts, etc.) from the NOA territory and discuss our plans for driving the business and providing tailored information that this group finds useful to their operations. Nintendo has done these same types of business meetings at past E3 shows, but has not in the past few years. This year we are returning to that business partner meeting format.
New this year at our booth in the LACC, prior to the show opening, we’ll invite a small group of media to play our games. We will have a strong line-up of beloved franchise experiences available for immediate hands-on play.
We are continuing to consider exciting new ways to bring the news of our games and information directly to the players at home during the E3 timeframe, and will have more to say about that at a later date.”
Personally, I think this is a smart move given where the company is right now and what E3 is going to be about this year. Nintendo saves a lot of money by not doing a big presentation, but still has the mechanisms in place to get their good word out to the press.
With the next-gen consoles and titles likely to garner the lion’s share of the attention, it makes sense for Nintendo to do a little stealth marketing at this point. Well, as stealthy as Nintendo could possibly be.
The turn-based strategy game for the handheld console is a joy to play while retaining some bit of fun and whimsy with their 8-bit character battles. The challenges increase as the game progresses, but you and your characters will be well battle tested by then.
Your journey begins as part of a lord’s retinue while he attempts to vanquish a rising evil in the land. Chrom (not Crom as in Conan the Barbarian) starts as a young, headstrong prince, fighting bandits and quelling the borders between his country and an aggressive neighbor. You are found by his group with no memories and barely knowing your own name. Thus, your adventure begins!
Battles are laid out almost like a board game. A square grid covers the terrain and tiny 8-bit characters represent your friends and your foes. Melee combat can only occur when one character is next to another, but only on the north/south/east/west squares – no diagonal melee allowed. However, ranged melee can occur on the diagonal or one square away.
A character can also move freely around other enemy units so it can be difficult to set up a wall of fighters to protect your other units. Believe me, you’ll want to figure out choke points on the map to save your healers.
Combat is done on each character’s turn and involved percentages, rather than any player skill, to be successful. The percentages are influenced by many things – weapon used, armor, character skill points – but it all comes down to the digital roll of the die. Failing on a 95% chance to hit will definitely cause moments of frustration, but it all balances out – you hope.
With combat determined by numbers, tactics become paramount to success. There are many different classes of characters, but they gather into some specific types – fighters, archers or magic-users, healers, riders. They all have specific advantages and weaknesses, and it is up to the player to work those to their benefit.
Characters side-by-side can assist each other in battles or actually join up to provide even more support. Lone wolf characters will not do well. Keep your characters together and don’t split the party, if you can help it. Some of their battle cries are really good too. Frederick’s “Pick a god and pray!” is one of the better ones.
Your group will grow larger as you meet and recruit new adventurers to your gang. If you play with perma-death active – a character is gone for good if he/she dies on the battlefield – those new members will come in very handy to fill your ranks. They do come in at lower levels so don’t think you can sacrifice one character for another equally. If ultimately taking on 20 bad people with only a handful in your group is not your idea of fun, turn off perma-death and you’ll still get the enjoyment.
However, if your character or Chrom dies on the battlefield, the mission is over. This makes for some difficult choices because those two are usually the strongest on the field. But you can’t just have them rush toward the objective. They need support and protection while still allowing them the opportunities to defeat enemy combatants.
Surprisingly, the non-player characters are really deep. They exhibit their own personalities and quirks, making for some very interesting conversations. As two characters work together on the battlefield, their relationship off the grid grows. This opens up new dialog areas, diving deeper into each characters thoughts and dreams.
Some characters will even end up getting married and having children. Not what you expect from a turn-based strategy game, but it works very well with these well-thought out and unique characters.
Because it is on the Nintendo 3DS, I tried using the 3D feature when playing. It really is astounding how different aspects of the game leap off the screen. However, the feature still gives me headaches when I play for extended periods so I keep it off. You will be hooked for huge chunks of time as your battles become more convoluted and complex.
Beyond the main quest, there are side missions to help your characters gain experience, recruit new members or even rescue merchants who will then give you discounts. Nintendo is also planning to release new maps and content through SpotPass and the in-game store in the coming months, so the adventures will continue.
“Fire Emblem Awakening” is an excellent game if you are into the finer details of directing combat. Analyzing your choices, making the best moves, utilizing your resources to their maximum effect – these skills will be needed as you and Chrom wage a battle for truth, justice and the Ylissian way. The added bonus of relatable and interesting characters just adds more enjoyment and depth to a wonderful title for the 3DS.
“Fire Emblem Awakening” is available exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS. It is out now in Japan and North America. It is rated T for Teen due to alcohol reference, fantasy violence, mild language, and mild suggestive themes. This review was completed using a provided digital download copy.
Let’s cut to the chase – I like the Wii U. It offers a new way to play games and has a wide variety of launch titles to attract different genres of gamers.
Is it perfect? No. Some features haven’t launched yet and some things still need tweaking. But after spending 24 hours with the new console, none of that impacts what it does right now or affects my enjoyment with the new Wii U.
Much has been made about the initial system update that activates many of the online features. The patch is huge (more than 4 GB) and will take some time to download and install depending on your connection speed and how many people are trying to draw from the same source. The games also get smaller patches out of the box, but I would imagine that would not be the case with later releases.
Amazon video, Hulu Plus, You Tube and Nintendo TVii are not ready for prime time yet. While icons exist on the Wii U GamePad touchscreen, they won’t be activated until December. However, Netflix is ready to go now and offers movies through their service.
So what can Wii U do out of the box?
First- and third-party games are readily available to play and range from platformers like the “New Super Mario Bros. U,” sports games such as “NBA 2K13,” action adventure like “Mass Effect 3 – Special Edition” or classic horror games with “Zombie U.” Each game makes use of the Wii U GamePad in different ways.
For the more casual games, the touchscreen offers a full playing experience without the TV at all. Don’t walk away too far from the Wii U console though. I was able to get to another room before the action started sputtering and cutting out. But this is a feature I really enjoy – allowing me to relax on the couch with the game in my hands instead of leaning forward to make out the action on the TV.
If you have someone who likes to watch, the television mimics what you see on the touchscreen so the player can be concentrating on their gaming in their hands. However, you can also change the channel on the TV so someone can be watching a show while someone else is playing. It really does expand the uses of the family entertainment center.
Not all games are like that though. More intense games like “Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition” or “Zombie U” utilize the touchscreen as an inventory area or mapping tool. It complements the action on the TV screen rather than duplicating it, and achieving the dual screen gaming that Nintendo hopes will become the preferred way of playing.
There is a HDMI cable included and the HDMI output display is clear and sharp. I didn’t notice any difference between the Wii U display and visuals on other consoles even with action intense gaming.
The controller itself is wider than other console controllers are and that slight expansion does take some getting used to in longer gaming scenarios. If you suffer from OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), the Wii U GamePad is going to drive you nuts. Its cover and touchscreen show every fingerprint and smear. In my house, it also attracted cat hair like no other gaming device I have.
Battery life is supposed to run about three to five hours with continual use. That’s a pretty good amount of straight gaming, but you’ll need to plug it into a wall outlet to recharge in between uses.
Nintendo wants to incorporate friends and communities into its games, and let people play games together through the Nintendo Network ID system. Miiverse lets you connect with up to 100 friends and exchanges messages with them or include them in games. The communities are broken down into forum areas for each game. Players can share tips, screenshots or even draw their own pictures in connection with their gaming.
There is some drilling down to connect with your friends, which makes it feel a bit unintuitive, but it’s probably a good idea to do some deep digging on all the features to take advantage of what’s being offered.
Wii U chat allows for video calls between friends. A camera in the top of the GamePad lets them see you and you can see them. All calls are done through the Internet.
The Wii U GamePad also acts as a TV remote, changing channels, controlling volume or directing which input you want displayed on your television screen. A nice and unexpectedly oft-used feature that keeps me from reaching for the other remote to change the volume when gaming.
There is an Internet browser for web surfing and a Nintendo eShop to let you purchase and download games directly. Nintendo has also hinted at a bevy of downloadable content for its games.
A couple of the hiccups.
The Wii U does not have an Ethernet port. If your Internet connection is wired only, you’ll need a USB adapter to connect to online features. And as mentioned before, some of those features aren’t available yet.
Your homescreen is called the WaraWara Plaza, where dozens of Mii (players) gather to share information or tips. According to Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, WaraWara is Japanese and translates to bustling. Your Mii stands in the middle of it all, but doesn’t really interact per se with anyone else. Notes and pictures will pop up from time to time, but doesn’t offer conversation opportunities.
Also, as your Mii appears on the screen, it announces what you’ve been playing. Even though I’ve been switching out games, it still saying I’m on my first one. I’m also trying to figure out who all these people are. None of them are my friends and most appear to be Nintendo people. Will this change as more people join the Miiverse or as I meet new friends while gaming? It would be nice to see someone different here.
There are two different Wii U versions available. The basic model ($300) comes with 8 GB of internal storage (keep in mind the update will take up 4 GB) and the deluxe version ($350) has 32 GB. External hard drives can be connected with both for additional storage space. The deluxe version also comes with the NintendoLand game, a GamePad stand and cradle, and a console stand.
For what is does now, the Wii U is a welcome and forward looking addition to the console market. The second screen gaming with the GamePad touchpad is right in line with what Microsoft hopes to do with their SmartGlass technology. The inclusion of popular third-party franchises (Batman, NBA 2K) as well as new entries (Zombie U) and first-party titles from Nintendo offer a wide selection of gaming for all members of the family.
I think the Miiverse will turn out to be a good way to connect with friends and other players once we all get used to using it. The eventual inclusion of other video streams (Hulu, Nintendo TVii, etc.) is an attempt by Nintendo to make the Wii U the hub of family entertainment.
Am I ready to toss aside my other consoles? No. But I now see the Wii U as more of a gaming alternative with the touchscreen controller and variety of games than I did with the Wii.
There are still some bugs to be ironed out and new features to be unveiled. However, the Wii U shows the promise of what gaming in the future may be like. And I’m ready.
“Mario Tennis Open” tries to add more than the typical Mario tennis action, but doesn’t sustain the rally long enough to make it enjoyable.
Hoping to introduce the franchise to a new set of gamers, Nintendo released their latest tennis title on the handheld 3DS controller. The original “Mario Tennis” was unveiled in 2000 and only for the Nintendo 64 home console. A Game Boy Color handheld version was also released, but offered entirely different gameplay than the original.
Gameplay is straightforward tennis action. Classic characters from the Mario franchise act as your tennis avatar, and each has specific strengths and weaknesses to differentiate play.
Using the 3DS enables multiple variations on controller set up. Players can use the buttons and joystick to move and create shots. The touch screen is also an option to choose the type of shot you want, and the gyro sensors let players guide their shots left and right. There are also three different shot screens to customize the action to fit the player’s style.
Overhand smash shots, lob shots, slices and top spins are easily accessed. Double tapping a button or the touch screen before a shot can enhance the power of your play. Special Chance shots, activated when standing on colored circles and hitting the indicated shot type, can curve wildly and stun your opponent temporarily.
The physics is solid and very similar to the original version. Shots tend to stay in play and rarely go out of bounds. Directing your shots left and right is easy. Drop shots and lob shots take two different taps on the controller, but can be utilized well.
Circles appear on the court to help players get in the right spot for a rally. However, you’ll have to take your chances against stronger opponents to mix up the speed by hitting the ball while outside of the circles.
The basic gameplay offers single player and doubles tournaments with the console controlling your partner. There are four different tournaments to play toward the World Open championship with each tournament offering more challenging opponents.
There is an exhibition mode letting players choose their opponents, difficulty, type of court and how many games to win. This is good to help you practice against a particular type of tournament situation that might be giving you trouble.
There are also special games that use tennis as a way to collect rings, stars and coins. There is even a tennis version of the N64 “Super Mario Brothers” game. Hitting the ball against a wall as the game scrolls by lets Mario “stomp” Goombas, traverse through pipes and get to the flag at the end. Missing the ball means losing a life.
If you are looking for live competition against other people, multiplayer is available through local and online action. Quick or extended matches are set up through a rating system so one player isn’t so overwhelming against the other.
There is no text chat or voice chat so trash talking is non-existent, but it makes it feel like you are just playing another computer opponent. Your rating rises or falls depending on how well or poorly you do in your match.
“Mario Tennis Open” is addictive in the basic gameplay mode. The action is crisp and responsive, and the difficulty of the computer opponents appropriately rises as you progress through the tournaments.
The other modes are less fun and seem just filler to the great main course. The online play was nice for a change of pace, but without any kind of interactivity with your opponent, also lost its luster after a while.
I couldn’t put “Mario Tennis Open” down when I was going through the single player tournaments, but unfortunately, I really didn’t feel like picking it back up again once I was done winning it all.
A follow-up to the original Kid Icarus title that came out 25 years ago, this new version offers updated graphics, classic boss battles and humorous dialog that quickly becomes cheesy and trite.
The story harkens back to the original as the forces of Light battle the forces of Darkness with the player acting as the champion for Light. The angel hero, Pit, must set out once again with the help of the goddess of Light, Palutena, to defeat Medusa and end the threat to the human race.
Players control Pit with the circle pad and use the stylus to aim and turn him. Firing his weapon is done with the left shoulder button on the 3DS. Fortunately, the game comes packed with a nifty stand because trying to hold and maneuver gameplay was quite the contortion.
Even using the stylus after a while became painful in the wrist area. The game does remind you from time to time to take a break so obviously the developers knew it could have been a problem.
Combat is broken down into three different sections for each chapter: flight battle, ground battle and boss battle. In the air, Pit attempts to shoot enemies while continuously flying forward. He is able to dodge around the screen but his motion is always moving ahead.
On the ground (because apparently this angel has a limit on how much he can fly), Pit navigates through a series of rooms and pathways, defeating enemies and collecting hearts. Hearts are the currency by which players can obtain new weapons and skills.
The boss battles close each chapter, involving classic characters and a combination of nimble dodging and intense firepower. The bosses are returning enemies from the original title, but offer new challenges for fans of the franchise.
The intensity of each chapter can change as well, ramping up the enemies and the loot. A device called the Fiend’s Caldron, allows players to spend hearts to adjust the difficulty. Want to make it easier? That’ll cost you. If you want more, you bet hearts that you can complete the chapter, winning you more hearts.
Pit has nine different weapon types at his disposal and can equip one before each chapter. Ranging from rifles to clubs, each offers special advantages to ranged or melee combat. One nice feature is that some weapons can be fused with other weapons to create even more powerful attacks. Plus, some of the names are really quite charming.
If there is a downside to the game, it is the dialog. It starts off being funny and cute, but I get the feeling the writers were trying too hard in the later stages of the game. There are plenty of pop culture references that don’t quite work in this mythological setting.
“Happy meal of pain”? Really?
The talk also clashes with the action. Many times, the dialog ran on so long that I completed the fight before they were done trash talking each other. It ended up bringing down the entire experience and while some of it was needed for background, the dialog just ended up being silly.
Overall, Kid Icarus: Uprising does fly high with solid combat and some great visuals and soundtrack. The gameplay of solid overall and the story does move along at a brisk pace to keep things active.
However, the wings burn off quickly with extremely weak and cheesy dialog, and an uncomfortable playing configuration that would have been better suited for a second circle pad (Circle Pad Pro, anyone) than the stylus pointer. Keep the wrist brace handy.
“Kid Icarus: Uprising” is available now and only for the Nintendo 3DS. It is rated E 10+ for everyone 10 years old and older due to comic mischief, fantasy violence, and mild suggestive themes. This review was done using the Nintendo 3DS with no extra hardware attachments.
On one hand, 25 years of the “Zelda” franchise has provided many hours of enjoyment for fans everywhere and chronicled the adventures of everyone’s favorite green-hat-wearing elf, Link. This game has that.
On the other hand, I was looking for something that was going to advance the franchise in new directions and possibly break into some new ground. That didn’t happen.
“Skyward Sword” is full of what we’ve come to know and love about Link. Maze-like terrain, challenging dungeons, familiar weapons and, of course, trying to find Zelda are all here. There is little that is unfamiliar to the franchise that we haven’t seen before.
Epona, Link’s trusted horse, has been replaced by a riding bird to carry him around to distant locations. Unfortunately, there isn’t much challenging or exciting about riding around on a flying bird after you’ve done it once or twice. But since Link is based out on a floating city in the sky, trying to ride a horse around could get very messy very quickly.
I was also confused about where this game falls in the “Zelda” timeline. Link appears to be slightly older, but doesn’t have any of his traditional garb or weapons. He is a recruit in the knights’ program. He has to earn his familiar hat and clothing. Contrast that with previous games where Link looks like a kid, but apparently has already been promoted to knight with all the corresponding equipment.
Nintendo has said “Skyward Sword” lays the foundation for the events in “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time,” but it doesn’t feel like a precursor at all.
Link also is missing personality. He is, as always, silent, but really has no reaction to anything that happens around him. In an early segment, Link is getting bullied around, but shows no outward emotions or response. It is Zelda who comes in to chastise the bullies and defend Link.
The gameplay pace is slow with plenty of moments of inaction. It is almost leisurely as Link goes from one mission or dungeon to the next. There is no sense of urgency, but it does allow players to fully explore without feeling like they are missing something.
Environments are vibrant with collectibles and creatures lurking around every corner. There is a maze like quality to try to get to some areas with only one path in and one path out. Usually, some puzzle needs to be solved to open the pathway and allowing Link to continue.
Instead of Navi (“Hey, Listen!”), Fi, a mystical creature that almost acts like a computer artificial intelligence program, helps out whenever something new comes up or if a player gets stuck on what to do next. Fi lives in the handle of the sword and comes when summonded. She can also evaluate your gameplay as well as the surrounding area for any dangers or monsters.
Combat is decidedly different since the game requires the use of Nintendo’s Wii MotionPlus Control, which allows nearly 1-to-1 control from the player’s movements. Defeating monsters or solving some puzzles takes precise motions to get by blocks or cut open pathways. This was a welcome change from straight button pushing and injected a new level of challenge during combat.
The nunchucks attached to the Motion Plus Control act as the shield during combat and also help with special moves such as rolling or shield bashing. The two controllers together worked very well and made the combat enjoyable without making it tiring.
In the end, “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” is a good, but not great, game that sticks to the successful path that Link has been on for the past 25 years. Some minor tweaks don’t inject new energy into the franchise, but this is one series that keeps fans happy with familiar concepts and characters.
However, I wonder where Nintendo will be able to go next without needing to seriously consider some radical changes.
“The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” is available now in Europe and North America. It will be available in Japan on November 23 and in Australia on November 24. It is a Wii exclusive title and is rated E10+ for Everyone 10 years old and older due to animated blood, comic mischief and fantasy violence. This review was done with a review copy of the game.
Nintendo is putting a new shine on some titles for the Wii, 3DS and DS systems this fall.
A special edition “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” bundle will also contain a gold Wii Remote Plus controller available at launch on November 20. The game will also contain a special music CD featuring orchestral music that will be performed at The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony Concert in October.
Nintendo also announced two titles, one for each of their handheld controllers.
“Tetris: Axis” will be available for the 3DS on October 2 and include more than 20 different modes. The game will also allow up to eight people compete in wireless multiplayer competition.
For the DS system, the good Professor is back. “Professor Layton and the Last Specter” kicks off a brand new, puzzle solving trilogy set three years before the events in “Professor Layton and the Curious Village.”
Wait. A new trilogy set before a trilogy that’s already out? This sounds vaguely familiar.
Fans in North America will also get a bonus to “The Last Specter.” A role-playing game entitles “Professor Layton’s London Life” will contain more than 100 hours of additional content and be available at launch on October 17.
The price in the United States drops from $249.99 to $169.99 on August 12. In Japan, the price drops 10,000 yen ($127) on August 11.
The Nintendo 3DS was released in late February in Japan and March in US with much fanfare about its innovative glasses-free 3-D video display. Reviewers praised the improved controls and look of games while some fans complained about headaches associated with the new 3-D display.
“For anyone who was on the fence about buying a Nintendo 3DS, this is a huge motivation to buy now,” said Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. “We are giving shoppers every incentive to pick up a Nintendo 3DS, from an amazing new price to a rapid-fire succession of great games.”
Nintendo is expecting to launch several iconic titles for the 3DS beginning in September. “Star Fox 64 3D” arrives on September 9, followed by “Super Mario 3D Land,” “Mario Kart 7” and “Kid Icarus Uprising” by the holiday season.
If you already own a 3DS, Nintendo hasn’t forgotten about you. They are offering 20 free downloadable games from the Nintendo eShop – 10 from the NES Virtual Console games and 10 Game Boy Advance Virtual Console games – before they are available to the general public.
Current users who connect to the eShop before August 11 will automatically be registered as in the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador program. The program will allow those 3DS owners to get the 20 games for free.
Games from the NES like “Super Mario Bros.” and “Donkey Kong Jr.” are slated to become available later this year. Game Boy games like “Metroid Fusion” and “Mario Kart” will only be accessible to the Ambassador members and there are no plans to make them available to the general public.
While a company announcement did not directly address the reasons for the price drop, Nintendo may be reacting to disappointing sales numbers from early in the year. They came up 39 million units short of projected numbers for their fiscal year ending March 31 and have cut financial projections for the year from 110 billion yen to 20 billion yen.
Competition from the new PlayStation handheld Vita expected later this year may also be spurring the price move now. Vita was expected to hit the marketplace at $249 with more than 80 titles at launch.
“The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D” (Nintendo) is a delightful trip down memory lane that brings back memories of the original Nintendo 64 version with a new shine.
Nintendo remastered their 1998 classic for their handheld console, the Nintendo 3DS. Link, Navi and all the other characters now pop out of the screen with the new glasses-free 3D technology.
The original “Ocarina of Time” was praised as one of the best video games ever on Game Rankings and Metacritic, two websites that use gamer input to come up with their scores. With Nintendo’s move towards re-releasing their famous and classic titles in 3D, “Ocarina of Time” was pretty much a no brainer.
The land of Hyrule does seem crisper and brighter than I remember. The maps feel more expansive even though my mind knows they are the same as the 1998 version.
All the combat action is the same from the previous version. Controls are a bit different to account for the touch screen on the 3DS, and motion control lets Link look around easier than before.
The movements and button manipulation feels intuitive. I’m not sure if that’s because my memory is helping me or the on-screen hints keep pushing me forward.
The touch screen also acts as an inventory screen so you can easily see what in your pack and what items are assigned to which button. Nintendo made good use of the dual screens with the split of action on top and packing on bottom.
If you knew how to solve all the puzzles in the N64 version, you’ll breeze through them on the 3DS version. However, if this is all new to you, a new hint system will guide you through some of the tougher tests.
If there were parts you couldn’t stand in the original (I love you Navi, but if you shout ‘Hey, Listen!’ one more time…), those are included as well.
The music plays an integral part of the game and, using headphones on the 3DS, it sounds clear and majestic. The themes and musical sound effects are as timeless as anything associated with Mario.
After completing the main story, there is Master Quest – a second quest with revamped puzzled and redesigned dungeons to challenge players.
In reality, it is everything I remembered and more from playing the original “Ocarina of Time.”
Ultimately, the major difference between the two versions is the glasses-free 3D ability of the 3DS. Sadly, I ended up playing most of the game with that ability turned off.
The 3D ability is nice and looks great (for as long as I can stand it). But it doesn’t really add much to a game that stands on the pinnacle in video game history.
Nintendo took their time and really made this game beautiful, even in 2D. The gameplay is great and the new control system using the touch pad and motion controls offer a more natural feel to the game.
Add in the portability of the 3DS and Hyrule can be whenever and wherever you want it.
This would be a great game for any gamer of any age.
If you remember playing the original, you’ll love the journey back in time and marvel at how well the game has aged. If you have a new gamer close by, this is an awesome way to show them a classic game that has new controls to make it easy for them to enjoy.
“The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D” is an exclusive title for the Nintendo 3DS handheld console. It is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) due to animated blood, fantasy violence and suggestive themes. It will be available in Japan on June 16, Europe on June 17, North America on June 19, and Australia on June 30.
Nintendo is expected to announce its hardware follow-up to the Wii at its E3 2011 press conference in Los Angeles as well as some new games for its handheld 3DS device.
A live orchestra performs game theme music as clips from different “Zelda” titles play on the big screen. It is part of the 25th anniversary celebration for “The Legend of Zelda.”
The orchestra is asked to play different sounds from the game as well as melodies from different scenes. Shigeru Miyamoto is excited to act out the game actions as the music plays.
“Links Awakening” will be available for the Game Boy Color as a download later today. Next weekend, “Ocarina of Time 3D” will launch around the world.
“Four Swords” will be made available as a download as a 4-player co-op game. Wii Motion Plus is used for swinging the sword using a special gold Wii remote.
“Skyward Sword” for the Wii is expected to be out in time for the holiday.
There are also going to be official music CDs as part of the Zelda celebration – soundtrack from “Ocarina.” Plus more surprises as the celebration continues.
Satoru Iwata comes out now and talks about expanding who plays, where they play, and how we play. He talks about which consoles that appeal to uniquely satisfying to a particular audience.
He said Nintendo’s new platform will provide deeper experiences that the most passionate gamers has ever felt and a wider feel that ever before. It is all just a tease because the big announcement will be later.
But he wants everyone to understand that Nintendo wants to serve all gamers.
Several Nintendo titles are moving into 3-D. Different classic titles are getting the three dimension treatment very soon.
Reggie Fils-Aime steps out and says players want comfortable and surprise. He wants to know if it is possible to deliver something for everyone.
Five new, created from scratch titles for the Nintendo 3DS are announced – “MarioKart” (Holiday 2011), “Starfox 3D,” “Super Mario” for 3DS, “Kid Icarus Uprising” (with 3 on 3 multiplayer action and augmented reality cards), and “Luigi’s Mansion 2.”
“Luigi’s Mansion 2” looks like a Nintendo version of Ghostbusters, but it is cute.
Titles from SEGA, NAMCO, Capcom, Ubisoft and others will be making new games for the 3DS.
The system updates to the 3DS will enhance finding new games, unlock game trailers and demos, and provide a virtual console service for classic games.
For a limited time, “3D Classics: Excitebike” will be available for download.
Pokemon is now going to be 3D. An enhanced Pokedex for the 3DS will come with some Pokemon loaded, but you have to play to really catch them all. They will also have AR markers so players can assemble a scene using a Pokemon in the real world, then show it off to friends.
Excitebike and the Pokedex are free now in the Nintendo eShop.
Here comes the new console announcement.
Wii U is the new console that is designed to be enjoyed with others, but tailor made for the individual player.
The demo shows game action moving seamlessly from the TV to the controller screen. Artists can draw on the small screen and it show up on a TV.
Multiplayer games can be played on the small touchscreen (this sounds familiar). An aiming attachment shows a different viewpoint.
Throwing stars on the touch screen are tossed and affect action on the big screen.
Video calls can also be made on the new controller. What won’t this thing do?
It acts as an inventory screen to RPG action happening on the big screen.
Specs – a 6.2” touch screen, dual analog circle pads, motion controls, speakers, microphone and a camera. It is compatible for all Nintendo Wii attachments.
Iwata says Wii U was created so the widest variety of games can be enjoyed – from hardcore gamers to casual gamers. However, it was not designed to be a portable game machine – it is for home entertainment.
It is a new way to let everyone see games the way they want to see them. It will be available in 2012.
They expect game makers to come up with new, innovative ways to use the new Wii U controller. Just announced “Super Smash Brothers” for Wii U and 3DS, and the crowd goes wild. The two versions will work together in some way.
A video demo of new graphic capabilities looks fantastic. The quality is stellar and very realistic.
Reggie is talking about how the new controller will affect prototype games.
He announces LEGO City Stories, a new title in the series, to be available exclusively for the Wii U and 3DS as the first new third party title.
A video clip of different developers are now talking about their first reaction to the Wii U controller. Hardcore titles like “Darksiders II,” “Batman: Arkham City,” “Assassin’s Creed” and “Tekken” will be available at launch.
Nintendo has just thrown off the “kids’ console” label off the Wii platform. If these heavy duty titles play like they look, this is going to open up the Wii system to a lot more players.
Electronic Arts comes out on stage now. EA is looking forward to new content for their sports games and showing how the controller could be used in “Madden,” and “Battlefield” franchises.
DS, Wii, 3DS, and Wii U are unique but share the common pedigree of innovation. Reggie talks about how each built upon the successes of the others.
There has been no mention of price. Some of those features are not going to be cheap.
But the gauntlet has been thrown down. Let’s wait to see how well they can deliver.